“Mortify (put to death) therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection (passion), evil concupiscence (desire), and covetousness, which is idolatry: For which things’ sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience: In the which ye also walked some time, when ye lived in them. But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication (language) out of your mouth.”Colossians 3:5-8
We bought our home in March 2016, and we wanted to have a low maintenance back yard. The home we were moving from had about 1,7oo square feet of grass, which I enjoyed mowing, but I no longer wanted to spend the time it demanded. I did not want to deal with adjusting, repairing and replacing sprinkler heads any longer. I took it as a personal challenge, but my life and ministry responsibilities were increasing, and I no longer had the time to do this work. We hired a landscaper from our church, and told him our plans for the back yard.
Our plan was to have fake grass and cactus plants that did not require a water hook up, and some rock that would not take much time to rake and maintain. We moved in and the landscape was mostly complete, and we were tickled that we would not have much yard maintenance. We had six really nice cacti installed, and while they were not cheap, we assumed we would not have to worry about them after they were planted. I figured in the desert, cacti are not hooked up to any type of bubbler system but simply survive off of the water God gives them. I thought the same would be true for our fancy cacti and that they would rely on the same scarce amount of rain.
I noticed one day that my green cactus plants were looking more like yellow plants. I asked the landscaper, and he advised that we need to water them periodically in order for them to survive. I tried to give them water but the yellow turned to brown, and Rebekah pronounced them dead and decided to pull the plug on them. I got some new cactus plants that were like the old ones, and decided I would not let these plants die. I gave them a little water, but so did Rebekah. One day I noticed my green plants looked yellow once again and, sure enough, they turned brown as well. At first, I did not give them enough water and then, I gave them too much water. My gardening attempts were futile and my thumb resembled the grim reaper more so than a green thumb. I killed two sets of cactus plants, so I waved the white flag and decided to buy fake metal ones which I have yet to kill.
Our flesh thrives when we feed it. When our flesh thrives, it soon grows out of control and takes more and more from us, and requires that we feed it constantly. On the other hand, the opposite is true when we don’t feed it. The strongholds that we take a stand against will soon turn to yellow and brown. If you do not feed the flesh, then with time, it will lose its strength. God tells us to “walk in the Spirit” – listen to and obey His leading. Galatians 5:16 states, “This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.” If we do not walk in the Spirit, we will feed the flesh, and we will do evil things we never dreamed we would do. The flesh will wither if we do not feed it, but it will certainly grow if we continue to feed it.
Where are you today friend? Are you feeding your flesh or are you denying it? Galatians 2:20 states, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” Are you crucified with Christ and dead to the flesh, or do you feed it as one going through a buffet line? We can have victory over our flesh if we walk in the Spirit, but it requires us to say no to the sins that so easily entangle us. May we be like my thumb when it comes to gardening our flesh, and may we not allow sin to rule and reign in us. Romans 6:12 states, “Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.” Will you obey God or will you obey the flesh? Either our flesh or our spirit will reign, and it will come down to whichever we nourish most. What will you decide today Christian? Will you put to death the flesh or will you feed that which you should not? May we die to self and may we walk with our Lord in the everyday moments of life.